We love, because He first loved us.
John 11:55-12:19 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 So they were seeking for Jesus, and were saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think; that He will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize Him.
12 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. 7 Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”
9 The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.
12 On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” 14 Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him. 17 So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. 18 For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”
In today’s text it says: Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” First and foremost we are to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. Our ability to love and our capacity to love is a response to His love for us. No matter how hard we try, there will always be poor and needy people in the world. Jesus didn’t come to bring social justice to the world. He didn’t come to eliminate poverty. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” If we want to truly love others, we must first love God. Psalm 37:4 says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. As we love God, as we delight in Him, our hearts desire becomes aligned with Him. Our love for others then is expressed not only to meet their needs, but so that they would believe in Jesus.
It is not possible for us to love God too much. We need to love Him and worship Him extravagantly as Mary did. It is only as we love God that we can begin to love and help others. We love, because He first loved us. Our ability to love and our capacity to love is a response to His love for us. The more we love God, the more desire and capacity we will have to love others. If we try to help and serve people in our own strength, we become tired, burned out and depleted. God multiplies, He exponentially increases our ability; our capacity and our resources to love and help others. In John 14:12-14 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” No one loved the Father more than Jesus. His great works were based in and derived from His love of God and His desire to do His will. If we would do the works that Jesus did, we need love God as Jesus did.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, because You first loved me, with a love demonstrated in the cross, may I love You extravagantly. May I know and share Your love, a Love that is patient, a love that is kind and is not jealous; a love that does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. A love, like Your love, that never fails. Amen.